Arthur Ashe tennis camps open new frontiers, says coach Oduke

Thursday November 14 2019

Catching Them Young. Legendary tennis coach

Catching Them Young. Legendary tennis coach Oduke speaks to one of the prospective players during a tennis camp in Jinja over the weekend. PHOTO BY GEORGE KATONGOLE 

By GEORGE KATONGOLE

The Arthur Ashe legacy tennis camps mark an ambitious venture for the Uganda Tennis Federation (UTF), a body that thrives in Kampala and among traditional schools.
The tennis camps which have so far been held in Hoima, Arua, Gulu and Jinja, celebrate the life of Arthur Ashe, the first black tennis player on the US Davis Cup team and the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.
Through the camps, youngsters are taken through basics as well as HIV/Aids awareness, a masterstroke that marked the last days of Ashe after he was diagnosed with the disease through a blood transfusion.
Oduke, an executive committee member of the UTF said during the one-day camp at Jinja Club that the camps have been an eye opener in as far as scaling up tennis at the grassroots is concerned. “We need to boost our national teams and having witnessed great talent, I think we have a great foundation,” Oduke said. Five best performers from each gender are selected for the grand finale on February 22 at Lugogo.
Oduke stressed that the camps opened up a new frontier for talent identification. “This is a great innovation in the growth of tennis in the country,” the 60-year-old added.
The camps are held in partnership with the US Mission in Uganda, Uganda Network of People Living with HIV/Aids and the Tartan Burners Athletics Club.
The Cultural Affairs officer at the US embassy Carly Van Orman stressed the role sport plays in breaking barriers. “Ashe was a great sportsman and his effort to break barriers are legendary. But his role in fighting HIV and Aids is so important,” Orman said. The last regional camp will be held in Fort Portal on November

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